Friday, September 4, 2015

Gas price spike a dead cat bounce


It was only three weeks ago that I wrote the following in Gas price spike prompts outrage and analysis.
A few days ago, the Detroit average was $2.86.  According to Gas Buddy, it's now $3.03, the highest price of the year.  Given that Oil-Price.Net lists yesterday's close for [WTI] as $42.50, and the close the day before was $42.25, a dollar lower than it had been the last time I checked, that does come off as outrageous.
All of that price spike and then some have now disappeared, as Gas Buddy lists the Detroit average as $2.31.  I could tell it was finished earlier this week, when I was able to buy regular in my new neighborhood for $2.39, which was the metro Detroit average at the time.  A few days earlier, I coudn't find regular anywhere near me for less than $2.74.

Gas was even cheaper in my old neighborhood.  When I was last there, regular sold for $2.54, a low enough price to make me declare  Limbo Kitty returns as oil and gas fall more to close July.  Prices had declined to $2.41 before spiking in time for Dream Cruise, but that was all gone yesterday, when I found all the stations in my old stomping grounds selling regular for $2.24.  That might actually be overpriced, as the stations historically set their price a dime below the metro area average, so they could drop it down to $2.21.  One station a few miles away is already selling regular for $2.19, so the gas war is on.

As for what the near-term future holds, I'll repeat what I wrote three years ago: Eye spy the gas price rollercoaster about to coast down like a parachute.  This is despite oil prices bouncing off their lows for the year so far.  Ten days ago, WTI closed below $40 and Brent about $42.50.*  Yesterday, WTI ended trading at $46.75 and Brent at $50.68.  They may be up eight dollars in a little over a week, but those are still low enough prices to support regular below $2.00 during winter.  Seasonal trends will make sure of that, especially after Labor Day, which is only three days away.  When they do, watch for another return of Limbo Kitty.

*I should probably comment on the state of the stock market.  Be patient; I shall.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Grown-ups go back to school, too


I go back to school today, as do my students.  Most of them, especially in the evening classes, are non-tradtional students.  KPBS describes their requirements along with interviewing one of them in What It Takes For Non-Traditional College Students To Succeed In San Diego.

Roughly 50 percent of San Diego community college students are 25 or older. What does it take for those so-called "non-traditional students" to succeed in college?
Here's to my doing my part to offering my non-traditional students, who are usually my best students, a supportive academic environment.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Quatloos for "dinghy lovebirds" Gamrat and Courser

I've been neglecting a good sex scandal that's been brewing here in Michigan over the past few weeks, the one involving Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat, two Tea Party politicians that have been caught having an affair while in office.  It's time to remedy that oversight, beginning with WXYZ's Report finds misconduct, misuse of funds by Reps. Courser and Gamrat.

A report from the Michigan House Business Office found misconduct and misuse of funds by both Reps. Cindy Gamrat and Todd Courser.
I read the released report and summarized the findings in a comment at Michigan Liberal.
1. Representatives Courser and Gamrat are not credible witnesses.
2. Courser and Gamrat committed misconduct in office that warrants further investigation and review, including numerous instances of deceptive, deceitful, and outright dishonest conduct, lack of respect for constituents, and abuse of the office of State Representative.
3. Courser and Gamrat misused state resources to an extent that warrants further investigation and review; the two improperly used state resources for political, business, and personal purposes.
4. The evidence is insufficient to conclude that Ben Graham or Keith Allard were wrongfully terminated or subject to a hostile work environment.

Three findings that allow Michigan's version of Major Burns and Hot Lips Houlihan to be hung out to dry and a fourth that protects the state from action by their ex-employees.  As the Church Lady would say, "How convenient!"
Follow over the jump for another video from WXYZ, an analysis of the scandal, and more smart-aleck comments of mine from Michigan Liberal.

Drink to Deez Nuts for President


In case my readers aren't finding the presidential contest enough of a joke, TomoNewsUS reported Deez Nuts 2016: Deez Nuts to run for president, beating Hillary Clinton on Twitter.

WALLINGFORD, IOWA -A new, hopeful third force in American politics has thrown his hat into the ring for next year's Presidential election, just when we thought the race was gonna be another routine two horse slog.
This gave Tipsy Bartender a golden opportunity to craft a drink for a candidate other than Donald Trump.  Therefore, today's lesson consists of Skyy and Brittany preparing the Deez Nuts For President Fishbowl.

Once Deez Nuts entered the presidential race we knew we had to make a drink for him! Check out this cocktail...DEEZ NUTS!!!
...
DEEZ NUTS FOR PRESIDENT FISHBOWL
Baileys Irish Cream
Vanilla Vodka
Kahlua Coffee Liqueur
Frangelico
Butterscotch Schnapps

Strawberries
Oreos
M&M's
Butterfinger
Almond Joy
Reese's Peanut Butter Cup
Chocolate Syrup
Whipped Cream
Nuts
It looks like it will be a long campaign season and the best coping strategy seems to be to drink heavily.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

NABLOPOMO for September 2015: LESSONS


This month's theme is a natural for me.  Read the email to see why.
It's back-to-school time! Sharpened pencils, unblemished erasers, sheets of reinforcements: it's time to learn.

Learning goes well beyond the classroom walls. There are so many lessons at your fingertips on the Web. Want to learn how to remodel your bathroom? Read a DIY blog. How about find a new recipe for your upcoming dinner party? Try a food blog. Want to learn yoga? You can at home with how-to videos.

This month, in honour of back-to-school time, we're going to focus on lessons: what you've learned over the years as well as what you can teach others. We'll have roundups where you can share your favourite lessons you've learned online, and we'll do our own back-to-school fashion show via our blogs.

It's back-to-school, people. Open those books... er... blogs.
...
Let's learn a lesson together this month.
As I wrote, it's natural for me and a perfect transition from August's theme of KNOW.  After all, I'm an educator and I use this blog to research the topics I explore in class.  I even post lessons here.

There's more.
You can read more about the new NaBloPoMo theme on our opening post.
Follow over the jump.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Debate drinking game rules for Carly Fiorina


Paul W. at You Might Notice a Trend has posted Update: GOP Debate Drinking Game for 2016 But For the September 2015 Foofaraw In Particular.  That means it's time for me to update the drinks for the candidates I recommended in Drinks and drinking games for Donald Trump and the GOP debates, Proof of drinking game concept on Kasich, and Drinks for the candidates in tonight's debate, then compiled in GOP debate drinking game with drinks for each candidate at Daily Kos.  Here's what I told Paul when he told me he was updating the drinking game in a comment.
Thanks for the head's up.  I'm keeping the same drinks for the same candidates. About the only change I foresee is adding a drink recipe or two for Carly Fiorina, who has an outside chance of bumping Chris Christie or John Kasich out of tenth place. I'll just add them to your new rules.
Over at his blog, I added that "I've already found a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing beer (an IPA) so that's taken care of."  Paul approved of my suggestion.  To understand why, watch this video nicknamed "Demon Sheep" from iCarly's 2010 run for U.S. Senate.



Skip to 2:20 for the demon sheep.

That's probably why there is another beer suggestion for iCarly on a similar theme.


Follow over the jump for two more drink ideas plus Paul's rules for the GOP's only woman running for President.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

OMG, Spam Shoes!


As I wrote in Rainbow unicorn farts in your general direction, I'm in an "I can't be all DOOM all the time" mood today, but it isn't a good mood, either.  It's because I've been running into too much spam lately, both here and at Michigan Liberal.  So for today's Entertainment Sunday entry, I'm posting a video that I should have used to punctuate Blast from the past: Sarah Palin's Naughty Monkey Shoes and Green shoes in more ways than one, Shoes by Liam Sullivan.



I feel better already.  Follow over the jump for more images of Spam shoes that I used to comment on some spam diaries about shoes over at Michigan Liberal.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Accuweather remembers Hurricane Katrina ten years later


For today's tenth anniversary of the second landfall of Hurricane Katrina, I'm sharing Accuweather's Remembering Katrina: An In-Depth Look at Hurricane Katrina Then and Now.

From the timeline of the storm to the devastating aftermath; AccuWeather takes an in-depth look at Hurricane Katrina including visiting the Lower Ninth Ward, the levees and the Superdome in New Orleans.
The big storm on this blog has been Hurricane Sandy, so much so that the one time I mentioned Katrina in a title, it shared billing wiith Sandy.  That doesn't make Katrina any less important.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Monthly Meta for July 2015


I first told my readers to "stay tuned for the monthly meta" at the end of Science Fiction and Fantasy at the 2015 Teen Choice Awards.  That was almost two weeks ago.  Since today is the last Flashback Friday of the month, it's well past time to follow through, beginning with the goals I set for myself in Monthly Meta for June 2015.
July 2014 saw 12,764 page views, so the minimum goal is for 412 page views per day for a total of 12,772.  The medium goal is 13,184 to finish a day ahead and 13,402 for a five percent increase, each of which will require 425.3 and 432.3 page views per day respectively.  I'm trying to do that while posting no more than 44 entries during the month.  So far, I'm meeting all these goals.  Wish me luck on doing so for the rest of the month.
The blog ended up with 13,378 page views for July 2015, making it the fifth consecutive month with more than 13,000 page views.  It earned 431.55 page views per day.  Both were a bit short of the high goals for the month, but I'm not too upset about it, as I easily beat the minimum and low goals and came close enough to the high goal.  Besides, I had an excuse; I only posted 34 entries last month, ten less than my self-imposed maximum.  Consequently, I achieved an average of 393.47 page views per post, which appears to be a record, exceeding April 2015's 374.74 page views per entry.  While I usually care more about page views per day, I'll take the record in views per entry.  Besides, readership is still up over last year, so I'm pleased.

As for comments, I'll let what I wrote last month speak for itself.
While I don't make goals for comments, as any efforts I make to prompt more are less effective and predictable than what I can do to increase page views, last month was another good one for people responding to my posts at my blog.  Readers left 36 comments last month, the highest since February 2014 with 42 comments.  This is also the most per month so far this year.  I'd be pleasantly surprised if I could do that again this month, but I have no expectations.
I was right to have no expectations, as readers and spammers left only 17 comments during July.  This month is already much better, as 39 comments have been left, including one entry with 10 comments.  The month is not yet over, so I'm optimistic for more.

Speaking of comments, the first entry I'm sharing in this month's retrospective is the one with the most comments left during July, Bald Eagle facts for 4th of July weekend from DNews, posted July 3, 2015, with 3 comments.  It was also the tenth most read entry posted last month with 97 page views according to the raw counter, a double honor.  It got its readership through being shared on Facebook.

Follow over the jump for the rest of July's most read entries.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Trash to energy: Student sustainability video festival 46


As I promised in China's gender imbalance: Student sustainability video festival 45, here is another video from the talks the students voted as their favorites, Importing garbage for energy is good business for Sweden.

Everyone produces waste, and the Swedes are no different. It’s what they do with it that is unusual. Sweden recycles and sorts its waste so efficiently that less than 1 percent ends up in landfills. But perhaps even more interesting, and somewhat controversial, is that Sweden burns about as much household waste as it recycles, over 2 million tons, and converts this to energy. But even with this amount of domestic waste, the country’s 32 waste-to energy (WTE) incineration plants can handle even more. And when Sweden runs out of its own garbage, it offers a service to the rest of garbage-bloated Europe: importing excess waste from other countries.
I don't recall addressing incineration of trash to produce energy directly before, although I came close with both University of Cincinnati explores energy from waste and Paean to the power of poop, a Squirrel Case entry.  Once again, I thank my students for directing my attention to this subject.

Stay tuned for more of the videos from the talks students voted as their favorites along with the monthly meta.